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Blu-ray Maintains Edge Despite 'Tranformers'

25 Oct, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Blu-ray Disc maintains its edge in the format war with rival next-gen contender HD DVD, with Blu-ray titles outselling HD DVD titles by a margin of almost two to one in the first nine months of this year.

According to a study by Home Media Magazine's market research department, consumers bought 2.6 million Blu-ray Discs this year through Sept. 30, and just 1.4 million HD DVD discs.

Blu-ray Disc titles began outselling HD DVD titles early in the year and have consistently maintained an edge, week after week. Even Paramount Home Entertainment's release of the DreamWorks theatrical blockbuster Transformers exclusively on the HD DVD format didn't tip the scale last week. Though there was no hot new Blu-ray Disc release, consumers continued to buy more Blu-ray Discs than HD DVDs for the week ended Oct. 21, albeit by a slim 51% to 49% edge. Paramount says Transformers sold 190,000 units its first week in stores, but Home Media Magazine market research and studio estimates puts the actual number of units that sold through to consumers closer to 115,000.

HD DVD backers expect to see sales pick up as the fourth quarter progresses, particularly now that Paramount and DreamWorks, which previously supported both high-definition optical disc formats, announced it would henceforth release titles only in the HD DVD format.

Most analysts still see the format war as too close to call and predict both formats will continue to co-exist as the audience for high-definition discs continues to increase, growth that likely would occur faster if there was only one format.

Blu-ray Disc continues to enjoy the lion's share of studio and consumer electronics manufacturer support. Among the six major studios, four support Blu-ray, three of them exclusively: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainnment and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Warner Home Video releases titles in both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, while Universal Studios Home Entertainment and now Paramount are exclusively in the HD DVD camp.

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